Peanuts and peanut butter are popular human treats, but what about for your pooch? The short answer is: yes. Peanuts are not toxic to dogs, but there are some things to consider before incorporating them into your dog's diet. As always, contact your veterinarian before changing your pet's diet.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Peanuts are filled with important vitamins and nutrients. They're high in vitamins B6 and E, niacin, protein, and healthy fats. Most dogs crave these nutrients, so it is very likely that your pooch will love this tasty treat. However, dogs should only eat peanuts that are raw, free of salt and flavoring, and removed from their shells. If you want to give your dog peanut butter, make sure that it is free of artificial sweeteners like xylitol.

Peanuts can become hazardous to dogs in several ways. When kept in the shell, peanuts can be difficult to digest and cause intestinal blockage or become a choking hazard. The nut itself can be difficult for some dogs to chew, and if swallowed, cause gastrointestinal obstruction. Their high fat content is good in appropriate amounts, but too much fat can lead to upset stomach and, over time, pancreatitis. Salted peanuts are too high in sodium for dogs, and flavored peanuts can contain artificial chemicals not meant for canine consumption. One or two salted peanuts may not be a cause for concern, but too many can cause serious medical issues.

Another serious issue is that peanuts are a common allergen, even in dogs. Like humans, dogs can develop an allergy that ranges from mild to severe. In some cases, they can suffer a potentially life-threatening reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Signs of allergic reaction include coughing, sneezing, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you notice these symptoms, stop giving your dog peanuts and contact your vet right away.

How should you feed your dog peanuts?
First and foremost, contact your vet to ensure your dog can eat human food. They can advise you on its safety and how much to feed your pup. Once you're in the clear, roasted, boiled, or raw are the safest option as long as they are removed from the shell. Make sure they do not have salt or flavoring.

If you're worried about your dog's ability to chew peanuts, you can chop them or grind them or serve them in the form of peanut butter. Remember to check all labels for artificial sweeteners that are potentially hazardous to dogs. You can also make your own peanut butter.

Use peanuts as a reward for doing tricks or place them in a treat puzzle for added mental stimulation. Spread peanut butter in a Kong and freeze it for a tasty treat. Homemade peanut butter treats are a great idea, as well.

Remember to always consult a professional about your dog's health and diet. A good rule of thumb is never overdo it. Limited quantities of peanuts are best in order to prevent any future health concerns. When served correctly and prepared properly, peanuts are a nutrient-rich, healthy snack.